Shalom: A Biblical Hebrew State of Being

“Shalom” (peace) is one of my favorite words in biblical Hebrew. I yearn for God’s peace, especially in areas of my life where I don’t have it.

It’s an interesting journey to look up “shalom” in the lexicon. I encourage you to try it, and use this opportunity also to pray for greater “shalom” in your life.

When you look up “shalom” in your lexicon, remember to include the letter “vav.” My tendency is to look for the three-letter cluster: “sh – l – m.” But that will only bring me to a list of verbs with that root. The noun – the word for “peace” – includes the letter “vav.” It looks like this:

שָׁלוֹם

It also sometimes appears in writing without the “vav,” but you need the “vav” when looking in the lexicon. That’s where you’ll find it.

If you have taken a class with me, you know I recommend the Holladay lexicon. Let’s see what this lexicon has to say about the word “shalom:”

“Being whole, intact; prosperity, peace” (p. 371; 1996 ed.).

It is interesting that “shalom” includes a state of being. It is not just an objective idea of “peace,” but it also includes a state of being in the fullness of God’s peace – “being whole, intact.”

When we pray for peace in our lives, this is what we are praying for: the state of being in peace, of being completely whole as the person God created us to be, in His image. When we are at genuine shalom peace, we are resting in who God made us to be. We are intact and whole. When we are not at peace, we are out of joint from who He made us to be.

If you can use more “shalom” in your life (we all can), this is a great time to start using this biblical Hebrew word in your prayers. God bless.

Interested in getting a taste of biblical Hebrew? There’s more to learn on my biblical Hebrew blog.

Want to jump into the basics of biblical Hebrew? Here’s a beginning biblical Hebrew course I offer online.